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Tapestries and photography exhibit of well known American Michael F. Rohde “HOUSES FOR NOMADS”

2007 May 4 @ 17:00 - 2007 June 5 @ 12:00

In the summer of 2006, I was fortunate to have had the chance to travel for a month in the grasslands of Eastern Tibet. Our group was composed of artists, educators, scholars, curators and veteran travelers to this region, including one of our leaders, who had been the first Westerner to visit this part of Tibet over twenty years ago.

We were able to visit small villages, nomadic yak herders and attend festivals that are seldom seen by any outsiders. We witnessed village shamans leading celebrations of their mountain gods and welcoming the coming harvest. Near Yushu there was a Nomadic Festival, drawing nomads from near and far with their tents and festival costumes; and near Litang we attended the Horse Festival. In several ways, this was a special time to have made the journey, as roads were paved where there were none, grazing pastures were being fenced and houses were built for nomads. It is a time for the passing of old ways.

Most moving, to many of us, were the occasional fields of prayer flags: lengths of cloth printed with prayers, and placed where the wind would blow them, with the idea that the breeze would carry the prayer onward, every time they moved in the wind. These prayers flags remained in place until the wind had worn them down to threads from which they were originally made. The desolation, movement and implied acceptance of the impermanence of all things, all this, brought several of us to tears of joy at the beauty and deeply rooted beliefs behind these installations.

Michael F. Rohde